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Going through some old films and getting them processed and came across this “keeper”. Taken on my Hasselblad Xpan using Ilford Pan F.
Click on the image to see it “slightly” bigger.
For more information about the Loch Buie Stone Circle – have a look here.
….or does it?
I posted on Twitter the question of “Is the bit on the right distracting?”
I was half expecting the responses to be a bit like those if you ask “Does my bum look big in this?” (NB: Men, the correct answer is “No”), but actually on this occasion I got a differing response – “Yes” – it was distracting. So I cropped the image down. That said I did lose the interesting vein of bluey greeness.
Then the following day I got different responses from friends in the Twittersphere that made me challenge my original thinking about the necessity for a crop – there was more to explore in the original image (and I would agree). So I’m left with two equally compelling images, that said I feel I am now coming full circle and if I had to choose I would probably choose #1
What do you think and why?
I spent the last weekend in North Wales in and around Llanberis on a workshop with Richard Childs. Whilst the weather was very much against us, we still managed to get out on all days to explore the unique man made environment of disused slate mines and quarries in North Wales.
I took with me (as ever) my Bronica SQa with a selection films, but I choose to use Velvia 50 in preference to everything else. With Richard’s expert guidance (and persistence!) I think I may have finally got to grips with Velvia. What is telling is that I only came away with 4 exposed films of 120 for a three day trip – does this mean I’m becoming more confident with my exposures or more selective in my subject matter or both?
Below is a selection of some of the exposures I took using Velvia 50 around the North Wales quarries. Some images are stronger than others, and the one I particularity wanted to work (the builders shop shot) didn’t work nearly as well as I would have liked. But, all of them are as they were when they were scanned with minimal tweaking, the histograms don’t show clipping in the blacks and white – so in theory there is detail in the blacks (but my little Epson V700 isn’t up to the job).
It would be great to know which one(s) work for you and why?
I take the name from The Hedge Druid’s postings about Nine Grey Ladies Stone Circle in the Derbyshire Peak District up on Stanton Moor. The point is an oak tree on the periphery of the stone circle. The tree usually has wiccan symbols hanging from it along with other gifts and keepsakes.
Another feature of this “Wishing Tree” is that people hang messages on the tree or screw them up and leave the messages in cracks in the oak’s bark, a bit like the Western Wall in Jerusalem. All in the hope that their wishes, dreams, aspirations or prayers are answered by whatever the powers are that move our lives.
You have to wonder at the depths of despair people have reached to post messages on a tree, I have a sense that many have hit rock bottom, when they talk of their addictions, others just want “more money” (don’t we all!) and more of the trappings of a well off life.
Nine Grey Ladies is a bit of an odd place – its far from being my favourite stone circle – that accolade is reserved for Nine Stone Close or Doll Tor Stone Circle. The circle itself has in the past been enclosed by a stone wall and has been threatened with quarrying. Its proven to be a bit of a magnet for people wanting to camp out and get drunk judging by the detritus that I often find on trips up there.
Stanton Moor has more to offer than just the Nine Grey Ladies – there are three other circles on the moor along with ten’s of burial mounds dating back to Neolithic times. All of the circles are in a state of decline, but each I feel, offers more peace than the magnet that is Nine Grey Ladies Stone Circle.
I’ve previously written about using the now defunct Efke 820 Aura Infra Red film. When the factory in Croatia closed, I didn’t think much about it – more of a “ho hum” than a “Oh no!” My logic being was that there are other infra films out there. I opted to use use Rollei Infra Red film – which is rated at ISO 400, that with an IR filter makes it ISO 6 – slow, but twice as fast as Efke Aura. Which when you’re using it for pinhole and applying the “Sunny 16″ rule, makes for an exposure of about 5 minutes.
One of the things I didn’t consider when switching from Efke, is the lack of “Aura” effect in the Rollei Infra Red film. Efke 820 came in two flavours – plain Infra Red and “Aura”, which added a soft halo effect around the subject.
Having only developed two rolls of Rollei Infra Red film, I find it quite stark in comparison to the almost dream like Efke 820 Aura.
Rollei Infra Red film, seems to be quite contrasty which makes it quite stark, I feel, in comparison to Efke 820 Aura.
Beggars can’t be choosers with the ever decreasing choice of films, and I think I will miss Efke Aura, but perhaps not enough to make me pay the £14 people are wanting for a roll of 120 on Ebay at present, so I will have to persevere with Rollei Infra Red film.
I don’t think any shots on my first two rolls of Rollei will make it in to my Ties to the Land/Stonework project – but I hope with a bit more practice I will make something that is up to scratch for inclusion
Its that time of year when photographers get giddy with excitement as the colours on the trees start to turn from de-saturated green to hues of yellow, gold and brown. Autumn. With a couple of photographer friends; Dav Thomas, Paul Mitchell, Roger Longdin and briefly John Irvine, we arranged to meet in the Lake District and base ourselves in Great Langdale. The previous year we had based ourselves at Glenridding on Ullswater, but being as to get anywhere elses was a good 30 mins drive away Great Langdale seemed like a good spot to stay this year with two hotels and a campsite within 10mins walk.
We weren’t blessed with great weather. I drove up on Tuesday to “do” Eskdale, Wasswater and Grey Croft Stone Circle for my Ties to the Land Project on the Wednesday. The best day was probably the Thursday and we were rewarded with some excellent colours at Blea Tarn that day (as well as the sight of at least 10 other photographers shooting up the Blea Tarn towards the Langdale Pikes). The rest of the time during our trip in the Lake District the weather was bad to atrocious – but it was a good lesson in making the most of the conditions. Not only that, but it was a good exercise in getting familiar with a location. We spent three days exploring at our own pace Hodge Close Quarry, a VERY large quarry that may be in a mothballed state just over the back from Yew Tree Tarn on the road to Coniston. With over 200 years of continuous working, the land is in various states of regeneration and the opportunities are endless for the creative photographer.
Here is a small selection from the trip to the Lake District, your comments as always are very welcome. Clicking on a photograph opens the gallery view.
I have to say that I feel that my confidence in using my pinhole cameras, yes I have two now (Zero Image 2000 and 612B). That confidence comes, as ever, through regular use and practice. There has been so much this year that I have had to relearn – the key one of getting close to the subject and then a bit closer again for good measure. Also I have got my hand back in to processing my own black and white films again. Using Prescysol EF makes Black and White film processing a lot easier for me – regardless of the film type it can all be lobed in to together, which does save having to wait until I have 3 films of the one type before I start processing. I even use it to good effect with my Infra Red films.
This summer I seem to have spawned another project “Ties to the Land” – not quite sure if its a sub set or the parent of my ever on going Derbyshire Megaliths project. Essentially, it aims to show mans’ relationship to the land – but in many ways thats what stone circles are all about – open air places of reverence and the marking of time. At the same time – having gone with the working of title of “Megalithic Light” for my stone circle project for the past two years, I’ve settled (for the moment at least) on “Stoneworks”, until a better idea comes along.
Crucially this summer I managed to do some pinhole photography using infra red film. I’ve written about using infra film and pinhole cameras elsewhere on this site. I think, when it works, infra red pinhole photography lends itself well to making photographs of objects that have stood for thousands of millennia. Gib Hill, next to Arbor Low in the Peak District is over seven thousand years old, so its perhaps appropriate that when I make my photographs that my exposures are taking 5 – 12 minutes.
Below are just some of the pinhole images that I’ve taken this summer – I still have another 4 rolls of infra red film to process. No doubt I will be sharing them here another time.
I’ve had a brief flurry of activity on ebay in an effort to sell my old Bronica ETRS gear and some of my Bronica SQa gear that I do not need. Its not that I don’t like having cameras around, its just that I’m not using them now having got a Bronica SQa and have moved on (its not them, its me). So in the effort to boost my views on ebay in the hope that I can convert some watchers of my items in to cash, here’s some links to my items.
All have been well cared for and are in good if not excellent condition.
So, what have we got….
- Canon Macro/Close Up Twin Lite MT-24EX Flash - http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=261281908701 - much under used and never in anger so in excellent condition
- Zenza BRONICA ZENZANON PE 40mm f4 for ETR ETRS - http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=261282690016 - top notch 40mm lens for the Bronica ETRS System – these go on ebay for £380
- Bronica ETRS SLR Film Camera with Zenzanon EII 75mm Lens - http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=261281986298 - Bronica ETRS with 75 lens and a couple of extras
- Bronica Rotary Prism for the ETR, ETRS, ETRSi & ETRC cameras - http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=261281891389 - view finder that allows you to still look down when the camera is in portrait position.
- ZENZA BRONICA AE-II METERED PRISM FINDER for ETRS, ETRSi, ETRC with manual - http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=261284118631 - TTL viewfinder for Bronica ETRS with manual
- TTL Metered Chimney Viewfinder for Bronica SQ Medium Format Camera System - http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=261284109832 - TTL chimney viewfind for Bronica SQa
- Bronica Prism Viewfinder for Bronica SQa - http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=261284126116 - bog standard viewfinder for Bronica SQa
- ZENZA BRONICA ZENZANON MC 1:5.6 F 250MM F5.6 250mm LENS ETR, ETRC ETRS ETRSi - http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=261282664639 - so big you could almost take someone’s eye out with it.
- Zenza Zenzanon 150mm f3.5 MC lens for Bronica ETR/ETRS/ETRSi – exc condition - http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=261282710679 - 150mm lens for Bronica ETRS, does as it says on the tin.
Just back from a family holiday (including visits to Ardnamurchan, Mull and Arisaig) away in my most prized photographic equipment possession – my camper van called “Diggy”. Surprisingly we all survived the two weeks unscathed, though I have to admit to difficulty adjusting to sleeping in a full size bed again!
Whilst the trip was not about photography, of course the camera(s) came with us. During the trip I mailed 10 rolls back to Peak Imaging for processing using their handy little pre-paid boxes that they supply, this avoided carrying around exposed films, losing them, to find them again, only to lose them again – stress avoidance . Whilst the trip wasn’t about photography, per se(!), it did give me inspiration for places to visit again.
The PS110mm macro lens that I got with my Bronica SQa kit when I bought it got put through its paces for the first time – its a lovely lens – focuses down to about 60 cm and has roughly a 20cm field of view.
After visiting the Isle of Mull, we took the ferry from Tobermory to Ardnamurchan back on the mainland. Ardnamurchan is the most westerly point on the UK mainland and is a fascinating place to visit. If you look at it on Google Maps, you will see whats left of a giant volcano which makes for some interesting geology, but you will also be able to discern some lovely sandy beaches with turquoise blue water as well.
From our camp site (Ardnamurchan Campsite) , we went fossil hunting and we came across these wonderful colourful stones in amongst a beach made up of mainly cheesegrater like gabbro. As the kids played, I had a chance to play too
I mentioned in my previous Bamburgh Beach post how I was disappointed with my negative film results of Bamburgh Castle from our Bank Holiday sortie up to Bamburgh in Northumberland. Thankfully I was also taking slide film photographs using Fujifilm Velvia 50 and having them sent to a professional lab (instead of using the local camera shop) saved the day for me.
Here are two shots from roughly (within feet) the same spot of Bamburgh Castle, one after dusk and one about seven hours later after dawn. I’m very pleased with the colour rendition in both – no nuclear sunrises or sunsets here! If I had to choose, I would go for the morning photograph of Bamburgh Castle – but only just